Exclusive: Iran’s Reza Pahlavi pessimistic about the nuclear deal but optimistic about the future of relations with Saudi Arabia and Israel More videos

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Reza Pahlavi, the eldest son of the late Shah, considers the result of the talks on a new nuclear deal to be “in vain”. (Screen capture)

DUBAI (Rahnuma): Reza Pahlavi, the exiled Crown Prince of Iran, considers the outcome of the talks on a new nuclear deal to be “pointless” as long as the current regime is in place in Tehran.

“Regardless of what is being negotiated here, the bottom line is that it’s pointless. The regime is simply using whatever it has as a means of extortion – it is forcing the world to deal with it so that it can continue to control the geopolitics of our region, ”he told Arab News.

In an extensive interview to kick off a second season of Frankly Speaking, Pahlavi also spoke about Iran’s future relations with Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, including Israel once the Ayatollah regime ends, and the desire of most Iranians return to normal post-theocratic life.

He insisted that he had no ambitions to be a new “Shah” in Iran and that it was up to the Iranians to choose what kind of government to live under.

“I’m not running for any office. My only mission in life is to reach this finish line, which is the liberation of Iran, and after this regime to have the opportunity to build a new secular, democratic system … This day will be the end of my political mission in life, ” he said.

Pahlavi, the eldest son of the late Shah, was the heir to the throne until the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Since then he has lived mainly in the USA as an activist / lawyer against the regime.

Pahlavi had a tough message for US President Joe Biden amid indirect Washington-Tehran talks on a new version of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Regulate Iran’s Nuclear Industry and Restore Economic Connections with the Rest of the World.

“This regime cannot change its behavior because its entire existence depends on its viral state, exporting an ideology and dominating the region either directly or through proxy,” said Pahlavi.

“Indeed, we saw that (US sanctions) were largely increasing the pressure on the regime, forcing it to curtail its ability to do whatever it wanted. Any relaxation (of the pressure) encourages (the regime) and enables it to foster its permanent state of creating instability in the region. “

Pahlavi believes lifting economic sanctions will only increase Iran’s potential to finance terrorism in the region where it has orchestrated attacks on Saudi Arabia and other countries through its militias in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon would.

“I think we saw this before during the Obama administration, when enormous sums of money were released to the regime and none of it was spent on the Iranian people,” he said.

Pahlavi looks forward to a new era of good relations between Iran and its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, following regime change in Tehran.

“Look at what the relationship was like before the revolution. When King Faisal of Saudi Arabia died, Iran was mourned for seven days. That was the extent of the relationship, ”said Pahlavi.

“The people haven’t changed; the regime has. And because of its negative impact on the region, we can certainly expect a future in which mutual respect and cordial relationships lead to better trade, better trade, more opportunities and (better life) of the people, the standard of living, health care, regional stability, Security coordination and many (other) things. “

Pahlavi praised the Vision 2030 strategy for diversifying the Saudi economy and liberalizing social and cultural life as well as the Abraham Agreement between Israel and some countries in the Middle East.

“Other nations are making progress (in order to avoid) being dependent on oil as their main source of income, adjusting their economies and making plans for the future, all in connection and cooperation. That’s the model to follow, ”he said.

“I cannot be happier to see this development and the Abrahamic Accords and everything that comes after, because we are moving towards progress and regional cooperation and opportunity.”

Pahlavi contrasted the role that Iran played before the revolution in the Gulf with the current situation in which the country and its people are increasingly isolated.

“There was a time when people in Dubai dreamed of coming to Tehran to go to our supermarkets and shop in our stores. Today every Tehranian’s dream is to move the furthest away from Iran, ”he said.

Pahlavi stressed that there was no deep-seated hatred of Iranians against Arabs, Israelis or Americans, pointing out that students in Tehran had recently refused to take part in anti-foreign demonstrations organized by the regime.

“A nation like Iran, which has a long history of civilization, culture and tolerance within it, has never had a problem with antagonism to any other culture or nation,” he said.

The regime’s theocratic rule has also alienated more Iranians from religion, Pahlavi added. “I think religious governance created a situation where people steer away from religion. In fact, there is much more apathy towards any religious sentiment as a result of this regime which is directly trying to enforce a politicized religion and impose it on the public, ”he said.

“The Iranians learned the hard way, and I think today you can see that even those who are pious in Iran don’t want this regime because they see the damage it does to the beliefs of the people and the clerical establishment adds. “

The Iranian people grow out of their own “Islamic Inquisition,” he said, referring to religious extremism in 16th century Europe.

Pahlavi also attacked the influence of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which, in alliance with the regime, controls much of the country’s economic infrastructure, according to recent leaked comments from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Pahlavi said: “I was glad that someone in the regime itself was dismantling this naive expectation of the western world that the moderates would be able to solve the problems should they be in a position of control. In the end it is a totalitarian system, depending on the decision of a top leader. “

He campaigned for a democratic and secular system of government in his country, either with an elected president or a constitutional monarchy.

“The Iranian people ultimately decide on the final form, as long as the content is democratic. That is why I have asked my compatriots – whether Republicans or monarchists – in the future to come up with their best model or their best proposal for what the final form might look like, ”he said.

“As soon as the regime collapses, we expect a transition phase in which a transitional government will have to manage the country’s affairs while a constituent assembly will work out a new constitution and put all these issues up for discussion so that the people of Iran will ultimately have that Choice of how and what would determine the future. “

Pahlavi said stronger regional cooperation would help the Middle East address many of the profound challenges it faces, such as climate change and water scarcity.

“Long before we can resolve the political crisis, we should be concerned about the water crisis in our region. This is not only Iran but many other countries that are suffering from water crisis problems, ”he said.

“If Iran were a different Iran today, no missiles would be shipped to Yemen. We would have scientists, including the best Israeli experts, working on solving the water crisis for our respective countries. “



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